Jonah Pidge safe & healing
While Palomacy hatched as a local effort to help pigeons and doves in the San Francisco Bay Area, the need for what we do is unlimited. As perhaps the only organization in the world completely dedicated to rescuing and rehoming the lost, injured and/or displaced pigeon and dove survivors of exploitive businesses, hobbies and sports, we help birds from all over. Here's the story of how Palomacy helped a pigeon in Chicago, written by his rescuer Chava Sonnier.
I am truly in awe of the incredible service and resources Palomacy provides not only in person but also across the miles and across the globe! I have been involved in bird rescue and rehab for many years, and noticed a need within our area for rehab focused on pigeons, and thus have been trying to learn as much as possible about these remarkable birds. You can imagine my joy and relief when a friend added me to the Palomacy rescue Facebook group, where I discovered a wealth of knowledge in a truly caring environment focused on the most important priority, namely, the well being of birds and all living creatures.
I reached out to Palomacy’s Facebook community on behalf of Jonah Pidge because he appeared to have lost the use of both legs. Jonah Pidge was brought to my husband and I late on a Saturday night severely emaciated, crusted with grit and other such city dirt, and so weak that he was laying on his side and couldn’t hold his head up on his own. He had extensive cuts and scrapes along both legs and his underside, which later made sense when we realized he likely had been attempting to drag himself around on the rough city surfaces.
We focused first on simply stabilizing Jonah Pidge, and after a few days of care (tube feeding, antibiotics, baths, cleaning and dressing the wounds) he regained his strength at a remarkable rate and had begun eating on his own, but both legs remained limp and unresponsive. A trip to the avian vet confirmed that he was most likely suffering neurological trauma along with the additional challenge of two old, badly healed and fused fractures in his left leg that caused his left leg to stick out at nearly a right angle from his body.
The wonderful members of Palomacy’s Facebook group provided a remarkable outpouring of advice, ideas, encouragement, and brainstorming as we strove to help Jonah Pidge heal. Our newfound Palomacy friends directed us to the helpful examples of similar cases on Palomacy’s website, messaged late night ideas for Jonah’s physical therapy, and even mailed custom garments to help keep Jonah Pidge spotlessly clean and healthy while he was unable to move himself.
Thus we ventured hopefully down the road of several weeks of Jonah Pidge resting in a towel doughnut to keep pressure off of his legs and underside, and twice daily hydrotherapy in the hopes he might regain mobility. Because he was a wild/feral city pigeon before his injury I worried the change to home life would be too hard for him, but pigeons never cease to amaze me with their adaptive poise… Such joy the first day Jonah Pidge felt both strong enough and at home enough in his “nest” to give me a solid Wing Fu slap! Even more amazing was when he started to respond to being gently held and petted with contented coos! I wanted to make sure he had as much mental stimulation and enrichment as possible despite his lack of mobility, and fortunately I work from home so Jonah Pidge and I soon fell into a habit of my either carrying him around the house wherever I went or rolling him with me from room to room as he rode regally in his towel doughnut on a rolling desk chair!
While my husband and I have had the honor of meeting dozens of pigeons thus far in our rehab journey, after a time they either passed away (birds need hospice care too!) or fortunately more often recovered and were able to be released (in the case of wild pigeons only) or adopted (in the case of domestic pigeons or non-releasable injured wild pigeons). At some point during the course of Jonah’s care we realized he would always be a special needs Pidge, certainly unable to fend for himself properly back in the wild, and thus the first permanent pigeon member of our family had found us. It is truly an honor and privilege to be his human “flock” and watch him flourish, regain weight, regrow his missing feathers, and confidently hop on my hand or into my lap for snuggles. (Jonah Pidge does wear pigeon pants sometimes since he is never caged and has the full run of our pigeon-proofed home, but he gets plenty of pants-free time too.)
I am beyond thrilled to be able to report he’s gained full mobility in both of his legs! His left leg will likely always have some limitations, but the avian vet concluded it doesn’t seem to cause him pain and thus advised against the risks of surgery, so we are continuing to work on his physical therapy and strengthening, and with classic pigeon poise he has adapted remarkably well to a life of fluffy blankets and stuffed animals, snuggles, and having full reign over the house. I am so grateful to Palomacy for offering such helpful insights into Jonah’s care across the miles, and to Jonah Pidge for brightening our lives tremendously!
Palomacy depends on your support to do the life-saving, culture-changing work we do every day of the year!
Chava, healed Jonah Pidge & Zach at COO-CHELLA
Palomacy's 2019 Full Color Photo Wall Calendar
The Palomacy-recommended pigeon stroller is here!
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